I can picture it like it was yesterday.

Newspaper Headline - No Pain, No GainIt was 1984.  I was in day 30 of my 30 day rookie training program at Dean Witter (Morgan Stanley).  124 other would-be financial advisors and I sat in a huge auditorium-style classroom on the 70th floor of the World Trade Center.

And FINALLY, just under the wire, we get a “presenter” who shared something of lasting value.

You see, for the better part of a month we had been told that 12 hour workdays would be the norm.  Forget Saturdays off…they were a thing of the past.

Grind it out.

Sacrifice your marriage and your first born child and you’d have a chance at making it.  At least you’d have a SMALL chance.

No matter the lesson topic…we got what seemed like a requisite rebuke on the loss of life as we had known it.  Thank you sir, may I have another?

Most of us had begged for our spot in this program…UGH!!!

Can you picture Chris Gardner’s (Will Smith) boss in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness?

The erudite blow-hard who thought he was doing Chris a favor when he gave him back the ten bucks he had BORROWED. These guys (and even a few gals) really existed.

The podium was continuously filled with smug Wall Street types who had never (or rarely) done what they were telling us to do.  They wanted us to “appreciate” the importance of working for nothing or next to nothing.

It’ll put hair on your chest.

Being eager to make a good impression, I had gotten myself a seat in the front row.  No skipping sessions. No hiding.  No snoring.

At times, I truly wanted to quit.

But I had spent most of my expense money on a down payment for an engagement ring.  No giving it back.  I was a hostage of my own making.

There was no backing out.

Thankfully, they always invited one of the previous year’s success stories to speak.  Even more thankfully, they didn’t prescreen what “the rookie of the year” might say.

And the first words out of his mouth were something like:

“Don’t believe all that 80 hour work week crap they’ve been teaching you!”

Chins hit the floor.  Our “faculty” was staggered.

Audible sighs of relief rose from the audience…a huge exhale.  I wasn’t the only one fearing the loss of my personal freedom.

Our hero continued:  “If you focus your day around the time you actually spend talking to your clients and prospects, there’s no need to spend long hours in the office.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

That’s why I had a great rookie year.  That simple mantra has impacted my career.  And that’s why the advisors I coach and mentor have less stress and more success.

Focus your day around the time you spend with clients

Clients come first…and not just because good service is good business…

Focusing your day around the time you spend with your clients can be transformational.  And as obvious as it may sound; it’s a missed opportunity among financial advisors.


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